He pleaded with legislators last week not to introduce a bill that would de-annex the land, located on Battlefield Parkway, from the city.
Northwest Georgia Bank obtained the property through a foreclosure. The bank is attempting to sell the property and requested de-annexation from the city because of its ban on Sunday alcohol sales.
“We have been in negotiations to sell the property subject to the availability of Sunday alcohol sales,” bank executive vice president Kerry Riley told the city council on Feb. 11, prior to them refusing to vote on the de-annexation.
Riley expected the council’s reaction and immediately submitted the de-annexation request to the state legislature.
But almost two weeks later, Long is still fighting to keep this property from being annexed into the county.
The city of Fort Oglethorpe will have Sunday alcohol sales on the ballot in November, according to Long. His confidence, he said, is based on conversations with both city council candidates for the ward 5 seat to be elected on March 19. The candidates, Judd Burkhart and Clay Kissner, have both specified their intent to let citizens vote again on Sunday alcohol sales, according to Long. Kissner previously said he did not think the people needed to vote again on the issue, while all along Burkhart has encouraged another election for the citizens.
A letter from Long, dated Monday, Feb. 25, was sent to four local House lawmakers. This letter requested lawmakers not to introduce local legislation to de-annex any property from Fort Oglethorpe. Long specified in the letter that the question of Sunday alcohol sales would be on the November ballot.
“My intent is to make sure everybody in the legislature and north Georgia knows the city does not want this commercial property to be de-annexed from the city,” Long said Friday. “I am sorry they got this property in a foreclosure and need to sell it, but we don’t want property de-annexed from the city.”
The property is valued at more than $4 million and is located off Battlefield Parkway between Dietz Road and Dyers Bridge Road.
“I have never heard of the state legislature removing property through de-annexation without the city’s approval,” Long said. “And if the state de-annexes them, we will just annex it right back. That is our right because of an intergovernmental agreement (based on providing water and sewer to areas within the county).”
The current legislative session is about half way complete. Sen. Jeff Mullis, a Republican from Chickamauga, did not comment whether local legislation to de-annex property is a common occurrence but plans to handle the issue delicately, he said
“The Fort Oglethorpe delegation is carefully considering all sides of the issue surrounding the potential de-annexation of properties and will come to a decision soon,” Mullis said.